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No. No. No! Don't mention the Queen

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No. No. No! Don’t mention the Queen.

Monarchists ditch the Queen and expose their campaign myths at No case launch

Monarchists and No case supporters today produced further evidence that they are embarrassed about the Queen being Australia’s Head of State after the Queen and the monarchy failed to rate a mention during the launch of their campaign at Parliament House in Sydney.

Accusing republicans of elitism because they do not want a foreign hereditary English King or Queen from one of the richest families in the world being our Head of State, a clutch of the establishment elite including Bill Hayden, Sir Richard McGarvxe, Sir Harry Gibbs and The Hon Bob Ellicot QC were featured in the campaign launch.

By avoiding mentioning the Queen, the No case realises Australians do not think the monarchy is relevant to cur nation anymore, even though we continue to hold Her Majesty Elizabeth II in great affection.

As part of an effort to hide the Queen from Australians which would do David Copperfield proud, the No case has tried to link an Australia with an Australian president, elected by Australians, with:

• communist dictatorship; • a military coup; • ihe humanitarian tragedy in East Timor; • ethnic cleansing; • Adolf Hitler: and

• changing the flag.

They have also offered Australians “10 reasons to vote No”, all of which are deceptive and border on weird. The ;:o-“ 10 reasons to Vote No” and the reasons why these reasons are wrong are listed on the attached sheet.

Republicans are so also so concerned that the Queen is missing in action in this debate because of No case embarrassment about Australia’s existing Head of State, that they are considering offering a reward for anyone who can find her as part of the No Republic-ACM campaign.

The monarchy of which the No side is so proud has been hidden at every turn, even though replacing the monarchy with an Australian president is the very crux of what we will be voting about on November 6.

September 22, 1999

Enquiries: Wayne Bums, national communications director, 02 9267 8022 or 0416 048 567.


Australian Republican Movement Limited A.C.N. 054 557 505 Telephone: +(61 -2) 9267 8022 Facsimile: +(61 -2) 9267 8155 PO Box A870 Sydney South NSW 1235 Level 11,60 Park Street Sydney NSW 2000 Toll free: 1800 80 2000

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The No case’s 10 reasons to vote No exposed.

___ 10 monstrous monarchist myths

1. Monarchist myth: "The President can he dismissed by the Prime Minister, so he or she would be the PM's pu p p et"

Reality: Right now, the Prime Minister can appoint anyone he likes Governor- General. She or he can remove the Governor-General anytime and replace the G- G with anyone from anywhere - even someone who is not an Australian citizen.

In the republic, the Prime Minister will retain the right to remove the President, so that if the two office holders cannot work together, the Prime Minister can prevail. After all, the Prime Minister is responsible through Parliament to the people.

However, the republican amendments REDUCE the current power of the Prime Minister. The PM cannot replace the President he or she has removed. The vacancy is automatically and immediately filled by the senior State Governor.

A permanent replacement is then nominated by the people, recommended by the Presidential Nominations Committee, supported by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition and finally approved by two-thirds majority o f the Federal Parliament. So the truth is that the republican amendments reduce the power o f the Prime Minister'and confer greater integrity and independence to the office of President.

2. Monarchist myth: "The People won't choose the President: the political dealmakers w ill"

The President will have the same powers as the Governor-General. This means the Australian President will have to be above party politics, impartial, and have the respect of all sections of the community. If the President were directly elected he or she would be a politician. The major political parties would run candidates

and one of them would win.

Given the enormous amounts of money and organisation required, it is quite inconceivable that anyone could get elected President in a national vote without _ the backing of either th e ia b o r or the Liberal-Parties. The republican model will first ensure that all Australians have an opportunity to nominate someone for


Those nominations will be considered by a special committee setup with broad community representation. It will present a short list to the Prime Minister and the L eader of the Opposition. They have to agree on one name and he or she will need the support of two thirds of Parliament. That means the new President will not be

a political hack, or someone chosen by a popularity contest. It will mean the President will be able to represent all Australians, not just a political party.

3. Monarchist myth: "If It A in ’t Broke, Don't Fix It. "

Our system o f Government is stable and democratic and is a tribute to the good sense of Australians. The No Case, however, believes if we have an Australian citizen as our Head of State instead of the Queen, then disaster will follow and w e’ll either become a dictatorship or descend into a bloodthirsty and lawless

State. The truth is that the only thing that is "broke" in our system is the office of Head of State.

Instead of being filled by an Australian, our Head o f State is the Queen o f England. Our judges and parliamentarians swear allegiance, not to Australia, but to "Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs and successors according to law." We have outgrown the British monarchy. It may do a good job in the UK, but it is not relevant to Australia. We should have a Head of State who can truly represent Australia and who is one of us.

4. Monarchist myth: "Major Changes with Unknown Results"

The monarchists say there are going to be 69 changes to our Constitution. They don't mention that almost all of them are simply removing the word "Queen" or "Governor General" and inserting "President". This is what Daryl Williams, the Federal Attorney General in the Howard Coalition Government says:

"The substitution of a President for the Governor-General and the Queen, and the removal of monarchical references scattered through the Constitution, would not have significant consequences for the day to day workings of Parliament or


"It would not alter the day to day operation of the Commonwealth Parliament."

"It would not alter the current federal balance between the Commonwealth and the States"

"It would not give the President powers different to those of the Governor- General."

"It would not create an office of President that is more grand or expensive than the office of the Governor General." __________

"It would not alter the Australian flag or the national anthem."

"It would not mark a break with our tradition of stable, parliamentary democracy.

5. Monarchist myth: "Constitutional change should unite us, not divide us. "

How can we have a Head of State who unites Australia when she (or he) is the monarch of another country? Not only is our Head of State required to be the King or Queen of England, but by British law they have to be a member o f the Anglican Church and cannot be married to a Roman Catholic.

Australia has outgrown that kind of medieval hereditary privilege and s ectarianism. Australia is a tolerant united country and our Head o f State should be an Australian citizen. That would truly unite Australians.

6. Monarchist myth: "Why change? Australia is already an independent nation. "

Who said we weren't? Not us. And it is precisely because we ARE an independent nation that we should start acting like one. With an Australian citizen as Head of State we would look like the nation we are, and want to be: proudly and independently Australian.

7. Monarchist myth: "There will be no benefits under this republic - only problems"

The; big benefit is a stronger, prouder, more committed nation. And national pride matters. We have a challenging time ahead of us. We need to be more united, more Australian. How can we do that when our Head of State is Queen or King of another country The big problem will occur if we vote No. The world will say

that.Australians had the chance to have an Australian Head of State but decided they could not manage without the Queen of England We will be humiliated in the eyes of the world if we vote No. We will be seen to have passed a vote o f No Confidence in ourselves.

8. Monarchist myth: "A Prime Minister can Keep the President in office indefinitely."

This is nonsense. The President's term of office is five years. A President could be re-appointed, but only after getting the approval of the Opposition and two thirds c f Parliament. Since most Presidents are likely to be people with a distinguished life behind them, and hence older people, it is unlikely we would have Presidents

serving more than one, or at most two, terms.

9. Monarchist myth: "The Prime Minister can ignore the Nominations Committee


Oh sure, and pigs can fly too! The monarchists must be living in a fantasy land. Do they really think a Nominations Committee will present a short list to the Prime Minister and then ignore it! And that the Leader of the Opposition would go ____ along with it? Do they think the press gallery, the Parliament and the people

would all be asleep and not notice? The No case should get real and stop treating us all like idiots.

■ 10. Monarchist myth: "Politician one day - President the next."

The republican amendments guarantee that the President will have the support of both sides of politics because the President will need the support o f both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. Would Labor support a Liberal politician as President? Would the Liberals support a Labor politician as

President? O f course not.